While the whole world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, India also faced a heart-breaking humanitarian crisis – our migrant workers (those who travel from other small villages to urban areas for work as daily wage earners) found themselves in a desperate situation with no money, no food, and no shelter. Thousands were attempting to walk endless miles under the blazing summer sun in threadbare chappals to reach their villages. Hundreds waited endlessly on the platforms of railway stations. Dozens were crammed into trucks that promised to take them home – but often left them stranded. Men, women, children, babies are battling starvation, many unwell, all of them desperate to simply get home – because there is no other choice.
During this crisis, U&I partnered with five other non-profit organizations across India to reach these displaced migrant communities with food supplies and help. In addition to helping our Learning Centers with resources, we also reached out to this community with dry food supplies and helped arrange for safe transport. Along with these organizations, we also arranged for meals for the hundreds waiting outside police stations for their token numbers to be called up so they could get the paperwork and tickets to travel back to their villages.
The pandemic sometimes brought out the worst in humanity with hoarding and angry outbursts at grocery stores. But it also brought out the best - when ordinary people banded together under the leadership of organizations like U&I to help the hurting and the hopeless.
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